Advertising can only get you so far. The rest is up to the company to actually execute on what they told the consumer to expect.
This was the problem Chris Goward found in the early 2000’s. Working in the advertising world, he saw companies spending millions to attract potential customers to barely-working websites that offered no retention and even less incentive to make a purchase.
To solve that glaring oversight, Goward founded his “anti-agency” in 2007 and called it WiderFunnel and immediately began to bring in clients such as Google, SAP and Tourism British Columbia—some key signs that he was on the right path.
“I believed that we could apply the principles of a truly results-oriented approach to marketing in general, starting with the web” -Chris Goward.
Since, then, WiderFunnel has grown to house 43 employees in their downtown Vancouver location, attracting top talent in the industry through a committed approach to “a special life and work experience for our team that they’ll always remember as a high point,” as Goward describes.
WiderFunnel has continued building on its early roots and developed into a full-scale growth agency with a focus on conversion optimization, customer research, and personalization. Cutting through the ad-speak, that really means WiderFunnel works with some of the world’s biggest brands—such as Mark’s, SportChek, IBM, Square, and H&R Block—to help them gain unique insights into their customers. WiderFunnel can then validate those insights through experimentation in the real world, perfectly mixing both the creative side of a typical advertising agency while also embracing the data and scientific elements needed to deeply innovate the industry.
The team does not simply consult, give advice and leave a client without real options for tangible growth. WiderFunnel can test each of their recommendations and prove their value, offering a seamless pathway to growth.
“I wanted to bake the tested approach into our process so that it was impossible not to do it. Which is why we’ve focused entirely on testing absolutely everything we do and never delivering anything to a client without it being tested.”
Within the industry itself, WiderFunnel is known for its LIFT model. LIFT is a framework that can analyze web and mobile experiences while also developing audience behaviour testing hypotheses.
That’s not all though. The PIE Framework helps companies figure out where and what to test first, bringing in both the creative and data sides of WiderFunnel.
WiderFunnel has teams dedicated to operations, growth, delivery, product and more. They are constantly in communication with each other to make sure workflow is streamlined from both the employee and client perspective.
On average, WiderFunnel’s clients see an average ROI of 945 per cent, and the company’s retention rate is through the roof. Goward and his team travel around the globe to speak at conferences, spreading the message of testing and learning and how sometimes it takes a step back to see the best way to step forward.
“I am a firm believer that all people want is to be heard, and loved.” – Victoria Petriw, WiderFunnel Director of Operations
Life at WiderFunnel is good. The company operates almost like a family in the sense that they share excursions, communal meetings, and other events together as a whole. It’s the kind of place where a few employees might mention organizing a camping trip, then after having that idea spread through the office, a 30-plus person trip encompassing seven campsites goes down a few short weeks later.
“I am a firm believer that all people want is to be heard, and to be loved,” says Victoria Petriw, WiderFunnel’s director of operations. “Companies often act like this doesn’t translate into the professional realm, that it only lives in the personal realm. And that is, I think, the number one mistake a lot of companies make.”
Everyone at the company is committed to a work culture they want to be a part of. WiderFunnel champions five distinct values: Grit, which means not quitting until an answer is found; integrity, so doing what’s best for clients as well as employees; maverick, the boldness to test new ideas; curiosity, learning and improving from those ideas; and real, seeking and sharing truth with courage.
“The office environment creates a unique lens for making company decisions,” says Goward. “It leads to decisions that might seem crazy for other companies, like taking the whole team to Las Vegas and Mexico for company retreats. Or devoting nearly half of our office space to shared spaces like a family-style kitchen, breakout rooms, and a beanbag chair ‘solutions’ room.”
The perks of being a WiderFunnel employee are pretty great too. The office sports an onsite fitness room, regular lunch-and-learns, events to give back to the community, book clubs, and weekly “Friday Awesome” socials where teams gather to recap the week over a beer or cider.
Once a month, the Friday Awesome is skipped over for a “Bring it On” session, where a team is challenged to curate a fun experience for the whole company. Past versions have included lip-sync battles, escape rooms, and musical chairs.
Goward is as much a founder and entrepreneur as he is a motivational force in the industry. He travels around the world as a keynote speaker to spread his personal mantra, but he’ll never forget where he came from. His LinkedIn lists his first business experience as the chief candy retailer at The Lemonade Stand, a tongue-in-cheek ode to his early ambitions as a businessman.
His first few real jobs involved work in marketing, advertising and his own personal consulting work. These prepared him to hit the ground running when he founded WiderFunnel, which helped spawn even more opportunities for the easily-approachable founder.
It would be hard to touch on Goward’s successes without mentioning his book “You Should Test That!” The collection of insights paints a picture that only thousands of audience behaviour tests on hundreds of websites can show, giving those in the advertising and marketing worlds a head start towards success.
Goward also landed on Business in Vancouver’s Top 40 Under 40, another testament to how fast WiderFunnel and its founder has grown in both the city and the field.